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Overheard on #Blogchat: Your Story (@shanleyknox)

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Do you participate in #blogchat? Every week, this weekly discussion on Twitter focuses on a specific topic and bloggers everywhere are invited to join in. Because I often have more to say than what will fit in 140 characters, every Sunday night (or Monday morning), I post about some of the most interesting #blogchat tweets. Join the conversation by commenting below.

(Still confused? Read more about #blogchat here.)

This week’s theme: creating a strategy for your blog

As bloggers, we spend a lot of time looking at ourselves. We want to connect with a community through telling our story. We want to learn new things to make our blogs successful. We want to share. It isn’t a malicious thing, but many bloggers, myself included, can be pretty egotistical, at least some of the time.

@shanleyknox: remembering that ur telling a story, but just right amount of personal so it stays focused on the story, not YOU.

This week, while talking about blog strategy, @shanleyknox made a really great point. Connecting with readers through telling your story is awesome…but don’t lose the lesson in talking about yourself.

Point in case: earlier this week, I gave you all a snippet of my childhood when writing a post called The Blog Sneetches. I rewrote that post four or five times before getting to the point where I felt comfortable posting it. Each one was missing something, but I couldn’t place my finger on that crucial missing element.

Finally, I figured it out. I was spending 75% of the post reminiscing about something from my childhood and only 25% of the post actually relating to the reader.

Now, sometimes, a long story can be a good thing, but if you spend most of your post talking about a personal story, you better have a really strong point at the end. When you do tell a story in your post, I recommend scrutinizing every single sentence. Is it necessary in making your overall point or are you just having fun talking about yourself? If it’s the former, edit it out. As @shanleyknox points out, you want to focus on the story, not on yourself.

If you can do that, your readers will get to know you as a blogger, but you also won’t drive off people by being too self-serving. It’s a fine line to walk and I certainly don’t always get it right!

I’d like to invite you all to share a post as a link in the comments before where you told a story about yourself to make a point to your readers, but in an edited way that was all about the reader’s needs, not about just liking to talk about yourself. If you don’t have a post like that on your blog, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to write one, and then come back here to share it with us all!

Allison Boyer freelance writer and content marketing consultant. She also runs the food blog The PinterTest Kitchen with her mom and sister. You can follow her shenanigans on Twitter (@allison_boyer) or contact her at allisonmboyer@gmail.com.


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  • Lauren Ashley Miller

    This is something I’ve been struggling with a lot, because my niche is social media basics as that is my clientele/audience. It gets a bit boring. Recent post with a little of myself that was relevant to 50-ish readers with recent grad children: http://laurenashleymiller.com/2010/11/18/job-hunting-stop-looking-and-create-one/

    I liked writing this post so much more; my writing was better because I was more invested. So I made a personal blog where I can write whatever the heck I want, and I will use your advice about just a dash of personal story telling. Thanks for the great advice, because it can be tempting to just write about my own stories and forget that I need to be useful to be read!

    • Alli

      Thanks for the link, Lauren! I think you make a good point – telling a story can be a great way to spice up an otherwise boring subject.

  • Aleja Bennett

    About the author:
    Aleja Robbins Bennett was born in East Elmhurst Queens New York by her biological mother. In 1976 she was raised in East New York Brooklyn by her adopted parents who physically-verbally and mentally abused her from the age of three until she was nineteen years of age.

    Alcohol became an escape for her while she associated with people-men that added to her abuse. At the age of twenty five while walking into her first A.A. meeting, she wrote her first poem titled Being Alive. From there she wrote Only the Strong Can Survive, Aleja’s Beautiful Poetic Strategy in Recovery, Poems from the Heart Mind Body and Soul and Passions, Desires of Aleja the Poet.

    Her next motivational short story book is titled All I Can Do Is Stand. She writes not just to share her story but to empower-strengthen-encourage people all over the world.

    Her writing helps so many people as it allows her healing to process faster. Her goal is to stop the form of abuse all over the world or at least give people a desire to no longer deal with it.

    She writes for all ages excluding some of the romance poems that might not be suitable for certain ages. The majority of her works are for all ages to read.

    Aleja Bennett wants to start an organization all over the world called Teen Speak Out where teens always have a safe place to speak their mind and receive any services they may need for their immediate situation.

    This place would just be for ages twelve through twenty only. This is to stop the cycle of abuse in the home or wherever the incident has taken place.

    Now at the age of thirty seven she still continues to write words that uplift and help so many around her and over the internet. She has become a motivational speaker-poet-author and an all around good friend if you need one.

    She doesn’t just try to sale books, it’s the message that is in her books that she wants to be delivered so that all are touched and inspired. http://alejabennett.com

  • Lisa Petrilli

    Hi Alli,

    Although I predominantly write about leadership and C-Suite strategies, one of my most popular posts is just what you are referring to – a personal story with a business “message.” In looking back at it I did realize that the majority of the post is spent telling the story in order to make the point, but I did try very hard to only include the most relevant details when I was writing. It’s entitled, “What I Learned About Networking When I Asked a Stranger for a Kidney.” Hope you enjoy it. 🙂
    http://www.lisapetrilli.com/2010/05/25/what-i-learned-about-networking-when-i-asked-a-stranger-for-a-kidney-2/

    All the very best to you for a beautiful Thanksgiving,
    @LisaPetrilli

    • Alli

      Thanks for the link, Lisa! I think it’s okay to spend most of the post telling the story as long as it’s relevant.

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